Apple’s knack for releasing impactful holiday ads is undeniable. ‘Fuzzy Feelings’ continues this tradition, proving once again that in a landscape where others falter, Apple can be trusted to craft a winner. The current installation resonates not just in pixels, but in the subtle echoes of workplace themes that linger long after the screen fades to black.
Emmy award-winning actress and director Lucia Aniello of the Hacks and Broad City fame has directed the four-minute spot alongside stop-motion animator and director Anna Mantzaris. Apple’s creative arm TBWA Media Arts Lab has conceptualised it.
The film skillfully departs from the soppy Christmas archetype. It starts in stop-motion animation where we see a felt man walking through wintry streets and snatching money from a charity jar. Soon he regrets his deed but is beset by a series of unfortunate events; a gust of wind strips him of his hat, coat, and pants. A snowplow then dumps a load of slush on him.
The camera zooms out to reveal the creator of the animated film, a young woman using an iPhone 15 Pro Max to capture her stop motion project and a 15-inch MacBook Air with an M2 to edit it.
Office worker by day and stop-motion artist by night, the film switches between the woman’s real world and whimsical imagery as the animator delicately understands the complexities of her office dynamics.
She doesn’t stop making his stop-motion self suffer until his boss surprises her with a thoughtful handmade Christmas gift. The film cuts to a glimpse of the boss having a lonely meal at a restaurant and somehow, the protagonist’s perspective of this surly, miserable person changes. She prompts her design to a more cheerful scene for his felt doppelganger, where he befriends a dog under a Christmas tree. In live-action, she shares lunch with him at the office cafeteria.
At nearly four minutes, the film doesn’t feel long or stretched at any point. It subtly navigates the fine line between tugging at heartstrings and avoiding the saccharine pitfalls of typical seasonal adverts. Apple’s release is not a conventional tearjerker in any way and deftly positions the tech giant’s cutting-edge devices as the conduits for emotive storytelling.
The ad is soundtracked to George Harrison’s 1970 track 'Isn’t It a Pity'; a welcome departure from the overused traditional festive tunes.
This unique, nuanced approach and avoiding the cloying sweetness of festive advertising of the past years, like the poignant 2021 film directed by Ivan and Jason Reitman or the 2019 tearjerker ‘The Surprise’ reflects Apple’s commitment to exploring modern avenues in storytelling. ‘Fuzzy Feelings’ is a refreshing change that proves holiday advertising can be innovative, emotionally resonant and seamlessly integrate tech and creativity, all in a bow of Christmas cheer.
The film is live on YouTube and, as usual, is accompanied by a behind-the-scenes look at the making. Watch below.
Agency: TBWA Media Arts Lab
Director: Lucia Aniello
DP: James Laxton
Production Company: Hungry Man
Animation Director: Anna Mantzaris
Animation Production Company: Passion Pictures
Music: “Isn’t It a Pity” by George Harrison